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Questions about gate-checked luggage on Delta

Posted Tue November 9, 2010 12:00 pm, by Bill R. written to Delta Air Lines

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Mr. Grinstein,

Monday, November 8th I flew from Kalispelll, Montana to Austin, Texas via Salt Lake City, on flights 4477 and 4912.

The purpose of this letter is to question the procedure for oversized carryon baggage recently implemented. Essentially, passengers bring to the gate whatever they don’t want to pay to check and “gate check” these items at what appears to be no expense.

It appears that the traveling public has created a way to circumvent paying the luggage fee and you are helping them by setting up the pink tags for this purpose. I do not like paying the luggage fee but I like even less people creating a way to skirt a fee that I feel obligated to pay. On both these flights passengers with gate checked luggage were called to board right after the Gold, Platinum and Elite Members forcing all others to wait while these folks, carrying everything but the kitchen sink, tagged their “luggage” and boarded the plane.

When the flight terminated in Austin no less than 30 passengers deplaned and then lined up in the jetway waiting for their gate checked luggage to be handed to them.

This hole needs to be plugged from both a revenue and service perspective due to it’s impact on other passengers.

On another note I just heard on the News that the rapper Kanye West was allowed to rap to passengers using the cabin P.A. system on a flight Tueday from Minneapolis to New York. Why would you allow this character or for that matter anyone not employed by the airline use of the speaker system?

I look forward to your response and Thank You in advance.



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by Bill R. Posted Fri November 12, 2010 @ 5:07 PM

Dear Mr. Rodwick,

RE: Case Number 1898470

Thank you for your email to Gerald Grinstein, former Chief Executive
Officer of Delta. As he is no longer with the company, I have been
asked to respond to your concerns regarding the baggage that is
checked at the gate.

I am truly sorry for your disappointment with our carry-on baggage
policy. I also understand the policy was inconsistently applied when
our team members checked baggage at the gate without collecting the
appropriate fee. Normally, this is only done when the overhead bins
are full and there is no more room for additional carry-on bags. Even
so, feedback like you have provided is very important to us. I will be
forwarding your comments to our Airport Customer Service leadership
team for internal follow up. Thank you for bringing this matter to our

I was sorry to read of your disappointment with the impromptu
performance by Mr. West on a recent flight. Rest assured your concerns
will be forwarded to our Inflight team for their review.

Mr. Rodwick, thank you again for writing. We sincerely appreciate your
business as a SkyMiles member and will always welcome the opportunity
to be of service.


Melissa Choudhry
Coordinator, Customer Care
Delta Air Lines/KLM Royal Dutch Airlines


by Casmly Posted Wed November 10, 2010 @ 4:42 PM

I will say that the last time I rode Delta, my bag barely fit and it
was within Delta's size guidelines. It just happened that it was a
smaller plane than I usually fly. That didn't change the size
parameters however.

On the other hand, in many ways I do wish Delta and other carriers
would utilize the carry on sizer more often. I always make sure my
luggage fits within the size parameters. There have been plenty of
times however that I've seen others bring large over sized bags,
clearly not within the size guidelines, on board. In many cases this
is why I find myself standing in the aisle way waiting to be
seated...someone with a large bag is trying hopelessly to cram it in
to the overhead bin.


by Eclipse Posted Tue November 9, 2010 @ 5:30 PM

Using the flight numbers you provided, I was able to identify that the
aircraft used to operate your flight was the Canadair Regional Jet.
This aircraft is significantly smaller than mainline aircraft such as
a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320. With that, the carry on bins are much
smaller. The airline likely has a standard carry on size that is
applicable to all flights, both regional and mainline. In order to
accommodate such carry ons, it is necessary to offer the option to
gate check luggage. If you want to get a "free" bag, then pack lighter
and use a bag that is suitable in size to meet the standards as a
carry on. A possible solution to this is to reduce the permitted size
of carry ons, but we would see a stream of complaints about this as
well, because on most large aircraft, the bags fit in the bin just

They are not "skirting a fee", they are using what is free to their
advantage. If they had too large of a bag, they would not be allowed
to carry it on and they would need to pay the fee. When I go carry on
only, I usually have to use a small sized bag and pack light in order
to have enough space.

Regarding the use of the PA system, I think it would have been cool to
have an impromptu rap concert on a flight if Kanye was on it. The
youtube video was not very long, so I cannot imagine he was taking up
too much time on the speaker. Lighten up and have a little fun!


Correct by KGBags Tue November 9, 2010 @ 9:03 PM

Exactly by Eclipse Tue November 9, 2010 @ 10:03 PM

Great explanations from both of you by RedheadwGlasses Wed November 10, 2010 @ 12:44 PM

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